Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro
A figure staggers blindly down a dark alley. He falls into the metal bins, reeking of booze. His carved features contort as he continues to sing: "Why does Michael Bay keep on making movies?" Then his strings jerk upwards, and he vomits all over the place. This is a scene with more emotion than any of this overblown sequel. Yes, Transformers 2 is less engaging than a wooden puppet puking in a puddle.
It starts with Optimus Prime - as always. "Earth. Birthplace of the human race," he booms. "A species much like our own." Except that they're giant robots. Alien robots, in fact. Unlike Sam Witwicky (LeBeouf), who is off to college. Remember him? He was that human in the first Transformers film. Oh wait, his girlfriend's back too - Mikaela (Fox). Not that she's worth a mention, seeing as she has less depth than a pancake. But that doesn't really matter - as long as we all drool over her.
There's eye candy elsewhere, too, with the autobots - the good robots, who all happen to disguise themselves as shiny new cars. Phwoar, says Michael, blowing something up in excitement. Then he proceeds to do what he does best. He even has a name for it: "f*cking the frame". So while he's humping the camera, Shia and the other humans run around trying to work out what the hell is going on.
In a giant mechanical nutshell (which happens to look like a Porsche), the Decepticons (boo! hiss!) want revenge after their metal asses got whipped last time round. Megatron, free from his underwater prison, is back to destroy the world for his evil master, The Fallen. The source of power for their diabolical robotic plan? The Matrix of Leadership - jot it down now, in time for Christmas. So while Sam has visions about the location of the magic key, various robots in disguise(TM) come out of disguise and smack each other to pieces. How exciting!
Except that it isn't. You can almost hear Alan Partridge standing nearby going "smash, bang, whallop - what a video". No matter how big the robots get, it's just boring. There are no characters to care about (even the charm of LeBeouf or the Turturro's comic talent can't rescue this one) and no sense of danger; it's as dull as watching cricket. Cricket played by giant robots. And it goes on for two and a half hours. Some form of pacing would've been nice, but instead we just get one gargantuan slice of CGI explosions, building up to one climactic petrol-driven punch-up, which isn't even slightly exciting.
The effects are moderately impressive, but nothing new. And why Michael insists on having so many comedy sidekicks - including a robot talking like a 30s gangster - is anybody's guess. With its testosterone-fuelled blend of girls and machines, maybe Michael was aiming for the kiddie market. Because Transformers 2 is obviously suitable for your children. If you like someone raping their retinas. There's even a robot with a pair of robotic balls. They may be big, but it's not clever. Soon enough, Bay flicks the switch and the American air force come to the rescue (the fighter jets virtually have their own spin-off series), and it's down to Sam to rescue Optimus: "Merge the matrix with his spark," urges a veteran autobot. Oo er, Michael. But that's exactly what this is: techno military porn. And that's something the whole family can enjoy.
Long, boring and incredibly dull. Pearl Harbour sucked, just a little bit more than Transformers 2.